Washington, DC –
U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), released the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address. Senator Cardin is a member of the Senate Committees on Budget, Small Business & Entrepreneurship, Environment & Public Works, Foreign Relations and the Judiciary. His guest for the State of the Union address was incoming Baltimore Mayor
“America’s workforce is the most productive in the world today, but nearly 15 million of our citizens are actively looking for work and not finding jobs. They are frustrated and they are calling on the federal government for attention and help. The roots of our weak economy and high unemployment were planted well before President Obama’s presidency, but it is now his responsibility, side-by-side with Congress, to create an economic environment that encourages private-sector job growth and stability, restoring economic security to Middle Class America. This continues to be our priority.
“Eight years of lax regulation and irresponsible speculation, coupled with rampant off-budget spending converted hard-fought-for federal surpluses into record deficits. We’ve made great progress in the last year slowing the loss of jobs, but to turn the corner and begin creating jobs anew, we must put in place the appropriate regulatory and fiscal policies needed to restore trust and stability in our economy. We also must finish the job of making affordable, comprehensive health insurance available for all Americans. Not only is the cost of health care one of the top pressures facing American families and businesses today, but slowing the growth of health care costs by 1.5 percent per year, can cut the unemployment rate by 0.24 percentage points, creating 500,000 jobs.
“I welcome the President’s desire to focus his attention on job creation, and I am encouraged by his greater emphasis on supporting America’s small businesses. Small firms are the backbone of America’s economy but dwindling availability of credit and scarce working capital have stymied their growth. I’ve been listening to small business owners across Maryland and working to help them survive and thrive despite the economic downturn. In response, I’ve just introduced legislation that will provide the lifeline small businesses need by expanding capital loans and establishing tax cuts to spur hiring and offset the rising costs of health coverage – without adding to our deficit.
“As the President mentioned, we also have a great opportunity to promote new job growth in the American economy through investments in clean energy. Our dependence on foreign energy sources puts every American family and every American business at the mercy of countries that have the ability to upset our economy and our national security by disrupting the flow of fuel, while pollution is endangering our children’s health and raising our planet’s temperature. Given the right incentives, domestic innovation and technology will create jobs here in America and free us from the economic uncertainty of foreign energy markets, saving billions of dollars we currently send overseas, and salvaging our environment and health from further damage. “